Android 4.0 Tablet Roundup
I'm ready to buy an Android powered tablet, but I want one with the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software. I've considered the iPad, but I'm just not an Apple fan, for various reasons. Which of the current Android tablet offerings do you recommend?
Which Android Tablet Should I Buy?
Android 4.0, code named Ice Cream Sandwich, was released in October 2011. Tablets powered by the latest Android operating system are now appearing on the market. Even though the price of the iPad2 was recently reduced by $100, Android tablets are hot. Some like the lower price point, others prefer the more open Android ecosystem. Today, you can find Android 4.0 tablets in a host of sizes, feature sets, and price ranges. Here are some to consider...
With its optional docking keyboard, the Asus Transformer Prime looks more like a slim laptop than a tablet. The $499 Transformer Prime features 32GB of RAM and a 1.3 Ghz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The 10.1 inch display's resolution is 1280 x 800, and it has an "outdoor" brightness booster that makes the display 50 per cent brighter than the iPad.
The mobile dock gives you a full QWERTY keyboard, touchpad, and USB port, transforming your tablet into a notebook. There is a 1.2 Mpixel front-facing camera and an 8 Mpixel rear-facing camera. GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth are standard. CNET calls the Prime "sleek and sexy," and I'd say it's currently the top of the line Android tablet. It's a bit lighter and thinner than the iPad, has a slightly larger screen, and costs $100 less than a comparable iPad 3.
The Acer Iconia Tab A510 is a high-end Ice Cream Sandwich tablet that sells for $450. It features a 10.1 inch screen with 1280-by-800 pixel resolution. It's powered by the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which has four Cortex-A9 CPUs and 12 graphics cores. The A510 has micro-HDMI and microUSB 2.0 ports, a microSD card reader, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Need photo and video capability? There's a 1 Mpixel front-facing camera and a 5 Mpixel rear-facing camera that can record video in 1080p resolution. Acer's A510 will be serious competition for the Asus Prime. It's available for pre-order now, and will be shipping soon.
Sony will update its tablet family with Ice Cream Sandwich in April, the company announced. The dual-screen, clamshell design Tablet P ($550) and the more traditional one-screen Tablet S ($500) will get Android 4.0.3, but with some heavy tweaks by Sony software engineers. One new feature, called "small apps," allows one to launch a Web browser, calculator or remote control app on top of the current screen without exiting the current app. Sony's current crop of Android tablets running the Honeycomb OS are quality products, and get high marks for both design and ergonomics.
Coby Electronics Corporation introduced two new Android 4.0 tablets which are slated to ship in March. The 7-inch MID7042-4 ($179) and 9.7-inch MID9742-8 ($279). The 7-incher comes with 4 GB of RAM while the larger model sports 8 GB. Otherwise, both models are identical: a 1GHz ARM processor, 1 GB of RAM, 802.11/b/g/n WiFi, and a camera. Thousands of free apps are available to Coby customers through the GetJar app store.
Access to the Android Marketplace (now called Google Play) is possible but requires some nerdy fiddling. Coby has a reputation for selling low-priced electronics that are not always of the highest quality. I'd recommend waiting a few months before purchasing one of these, to see how the early adopters rate them.
ViewSonic's $169 ViewPad E70 will start shipping later in the 2nd quarter of 2012. It has a 1 GHz processor, a 7-inch screen, a front-facing camera, and a MicroSD memory card slot for storage up to 32 GB. The capacitive touch screen supports 800 x 480 resolution. The ViewPad E70 also has a micro-HDMI port so you can stream content from it to an HD TV.
Of course, you don't need a whole new tablet to get Android 4.0. Many tablets that shipped with Android 3.2, code named Honeycomb, are or soon will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. Check with your tablet's manufacturer or your mobile service provider to see when and how you can upgrade to Android 4.0. And if you're interested in Android tablets that double as ebook readers, see my related articles Apple iPad Versus Kindle Fire and The New Nook Tablet.
Another factor to consider, Windows 8 is scheduled to ship later this year, probably in October. So you can expect to see a slew of new Windows 8 tablets featuring the new Metro-style interface. At this point, nobody knows if Windows 8 will be a big hit, or another Vista-style disaster. If you're in the market for a tablet, I wouldn't wait to find out.
Do you have an Android tablet you love? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Android 4.0 Tablet Roundup (Posted: 27 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved